Leslieville celebrates 8 years

In the 1830s workers paved Queen Street with planks. It became a toll road. Stage coaches and travelers had to stop at a toll booth where the Duke of York is now. Like service centres on today’s expressways, entrepreneurs came to serve travelers who needed to water and feed their horses in stables and replace lost horse shoes in blacksmith shops.

Wayfarers also rested, fed and watered themselves. By 1852, the village boasted three hotels, a blacksmith shop, and several general stores. When George Leslie, owner of Canada’s largest tree nursery, took over the Post Office and general store, Leslieville was born.

As Toronto’s population exploded in the 1850s, farmers subdivided their fields into small lots. Here, market gardeners grew fruit and vegetables to feed the city. Meanwhile others found clay deposits and turned out bricks to build Toronto.


Drovers herded cattle, sheep and hogs along the road from the surrounding countryside. After they reached the tollgate, they turned their weary, hungry animals loose on the grass along Ashbridges Bay to fatten and Leslieville’s butchers supplied steaks, chops, sausages, bacon, etc. to feed “Hogtown”.

Abattoirs, nurseries, and brickyards became Leslieville’s major employers. Others cut ice and fished on Ashbridge’s Bay. Small shops provided necessities from sewing needles to shoes.

Soon professionals such as doctors and pharmacists came to care for the body and clergymen to care for the soul. And so Leslieville grew until in 1884 it became part of the City of Toronto and large industries began to locate in “the East End.”


Tap the images to read our history.

Board Meeting Minutes

The Board meets monthly. All are welcome to attend and observe. Check in here to see the minutes.

Meet the Board

Christiane Tetreault

Chairman of the Board, since 2019

I am the director and operator of a charming and beautiful venue called The Vandenberg House, established in 2015. We provide event space for personal and corporate events. Living in Leslieville since 2008 has given me some insight and first hand experience with our ever changing, unique neighbourhood. As soon as I opened my venue, I joined the BIA as a board member to support our neighbourhood and Leslieville BIA members with a positive and creative attitude. Our diverse, friendly and small town feel is unique to Toronto and felt throughout our neighbourhood. I love our area and look forward to working with others to grow our Leslieville vision.

Ayisha Jamal

Ayisha is the owner of Smooth Operator Laser in Leslieville and has been a resident for 12 years.

Ayisha has spent her career in Fashion Buying, Music Management and now an entrepreneur in Laser hair removal since 2015.

She is an avid traveler who enjoys immersing herself in the cultures of the world. Ayisha is passionate about building community, creating opportunities and providing safe spaces for collective ideas.

Skills which she brings to the Leslieville BIA as a newly appointed member in her first year on the board.

Spinola D’Souza

This is a photograph of me at a High Tea Event recently attended with my residents.

I joined Chartwell in 2014 as Receptionist at Chartwell Scarlett Heights and was succession planned into the role of the Office Manager from Jul 2015 to Nov 2022. Last year I was the recipient of the Regional Office Manager Award 2022.

Prior to Chartwell, I completed 17 years of experience in the Security and Investigations field as a Data Analyst and Postal Inspector with Canada Post Corporation (aka the Post Office) and I continue to maintain my accreditation as a Certified Fraud Examiner.

In my current role, Dec 2022 to date, I am the new Retirement Living Consultant at Chartwell Avondale Retirement Residence. I am looking forward to meeting each of you and becoming an integral a part of our Leslieville community.

John Sinopoli

Executive Board Member since 2019

After completing an honours degree at McGill and a year of travels in Japan, John attended the French Culinary Institute in NYC and went on to work at the venerable La Caravelle. He then moved on to Craft, Tom Colicchio's flagship, where over the course of almost two years John learned the successful business practices and incessant demand for high quality that won the restaurant the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the United States. Upon John’s return to Toronto, he joined the team at the acclaimed Splendido where, under Chef/Owner David Lee, he helped to develop sophisticated tasting menus and was proud to be a part of one of Toronto’s best kitchens.

In 2011, John and Erik opened Ascari Enoteca, an Italian wine and pasta bar where there is a focus on “off the beaten path” wines as well as Italian classics. Handmade pasta and inventive shared dishes rule the menu. This was closely followed by the birth of Hi-Lo Bar, a fun neighbourhood rock-and-roll bar featuring great beers, cocktails and snacks, and good times.

Tom Wilson

Tom is a graduate of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he obtained a B.Sc. with an Advanced Major in Marine Biology. While studying, Tom supported himself by working as a fine dining chef. After spending 10 years at sea in Alaska, he decided to return to land and moved to Toronto. There, he joined the team at Betty's on King and progressed from Line Cook to Head Chef, eventually earning the position of General Manager.

With the closure of Betty's on King, Tom currently serves as the GM/owner of Betty's East in Leslieville, leveraging over 30 years of experience in the restaurant/bar industry. Tom's time in the kitchen and at sea has honed his organizational skills and fostered a strong team-oriented work ethic.

Tom resides in Ajax with his wife, Glenda, and their two children, Wayde and Amanda.

Jennifer Orenstein

I am a Certified General Accountant in public practice who works in a family business that has been part of the community in Leslieville for many years. I have experience in taxation, book keeping, and financial statements. As part of the board, I hope to encourage the business to work together to create a better sense of community. I use my expertise to sit on the board as a treasurer on Leslieville. With this in mind, I represent Leslieville as a director on the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas.

Brad Daniels

Brad is a resident, commercial landlord, and business owner in Leslieville and has been involved with the Leslieville BIA since its inception. For the past 25 years he has owned and managed a construction company based in Etobicoke. In his personal life Brad volunteers his time assisting various community and non-profit groups and is very active in the business and cultural communities of Leslieville.

Marawan El-Asfahani

Executive Board Member since 2021

Marawan co-owns Flying Squirrel Motorcycle Co. in Leslieville. FSM is a membership-based moto social hub that offers riders exclusive access to our private lounge, along with retail and food and beverage privileges. In addition, through community programming, members actively participate in a diverse range of motorcycle-specific events throughout the year.

Councillor’s Corner